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Rooftop Jungle

Denmark Hill Roof Garden
  • Rooftop Jungle - denmark-hill-planting
  • Rooftop Jungle - new-stairs-to-the-roof
  • Rooftop Jungle - new-roof-seating
  • Rooftop Jungle - denmark-hill-rooftop
  • Rooftop Jungle - before-we-started

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Here we have the roof garden and balcony to a terraced mews house in a quiet, narrow side road in Denmark Hill.

Brief:

The balcony is situated off the main living room and faces south-east and although there are surrounding street trees and trees in gardens, none overhang the property. Access was through bi-fold doors that were in a state of disrepair.

The roof garden is above the main living room and receives sun for most of the day.

Access to the roof was previously via a spiral staircase through the skylight and our client still had that staircase, although it was in pieces.

Our client wanted to make better use of these valuable outside spaces and create places where she could relax and entertain friends.

Solution:

The roof leaked, so this needed to be addressed first before building the roof garden, along with the repair of the wooden bi-fold doors that lead onto the balcony. Once that was done we could start to create the lush and inviting space that our client had been so looking forward to.

We re-instated the spiral staircase and installed a new hydraulic roof light to make access to the roof easier.

In order to leave enough space to entertain on the roof terrace, the design needed to be quite simple, leaving a space in the middle for table and chairs, with planting troughs and pots arranged around the edges.

We kept and re-used the original pots and added some brushed steel/aluminium planters for contrast; we also kept the chimenea.

For the floor surface of the roof garden, we used hardwood decking, that is hard-wearing and attractive, and for continuity we also used the same material for the balcony surface. We also installed a glass balustrade to front and back that will offer shelter from any wind but will not obstruct the views.

The owner requested quite a ‘jungle, tropical’ feel for the planting scheme for both the roof garden and the balcony, which was easier to achieve on the more protected balcony than on the exposed roof garden. The new interest in the planting comes from the form and foliage rather than from flowers, giving a lush green feel to the space and we used bamboo and grasses to create privacy from neighbouring properties without blocking out light and air. Herbs are conveniently grown on the balcony.

Lighting adds an exciting dimension to the spaces, making them not only useable on summer evenings, but also, especially in the case of the balcony, visually accessible in the winter months. With inset lighting to the decking and up-lighting to the structural planting, the effects can be dramatic. However, with the use of different circuits, a more subtle feel can be achieved, according to the mood and occasion.

Finally, we installed an automated irrigation system.

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